Google Fires 28 Employees for Protesting Contract

2 mins read

Google has taken action against 28 employees who participated in a protest against the company’s $US1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government. The protest was organised by the No Tech for Apartheid group and involved a 10-hour sit-in at Google’s offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California.

The employees expressed concerns that their products, provided through the Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, could potentially be used against Palestinians in Gaza during the ongoing conflict.

In response to the protest, Google’s vice president of global security, Chris Rackow, issued a memo stating that the fired employees had engaged in unacceptable behaviour, including taking over office spaces, defacing property, and disrupting the work of other employees. Rackow emphasised that such behaviour violates multiple company policies, including the code of conduct and policies on harassment, discrimination, and workplace concerns.

The No Tech for Apartheid group has criticised Google’s decision, describing it as a “flagrant act of retaliation” and accusing the company of prioritising its contract with the Israeli government over its employees. The group alleges that Google is continuing to mislead its workers and the public about the nature of the contract.

Google’s Project Nimbus, announced in 2021, involves providing cloud computing and artificial intelligence services to the Israeli government and military. Despite concerns raised by employees and advocacy groups, a Google spokesperson stated that the contract does not involve workloads related to weapons or intelligence services.

This incident follows Google’s termination of a previous contract with the US Department of Defence, where the company was using machine learning to analyse drone data, following widespread employee protests.

As tensions continue to rise, Google has made internal changes to its employee message board to reduce conflicts related to discussions about the war in Gaza, removing features like the virtual thumbs-down and the ability to see how popular posts are.